The Swanson Diagnosis Matrix (Swanson, 1994) provides a convenient framework for diagnosing performance problems. Built on the Rummler and Brach model (1995),this diagnostic tool examines the mission/goal, system design, capacity,motivation, and expertise within the organizational, process, and individual contexts.
Key questions in helping to determine performance questions are listed below:
SAMPLEPROBLEM DEFINITION QUESTIONS:
Swanson's Performance Diagnosis Matrix
Mission/Goals:Does the organization's mission/goals fit the reality of the economic,political, and cultural forces?
System Design: Does the organization's system provide structure and policies supporting desired performance?
Capacity:Does the organization have the leadership, capital, and infrastructure to achieve its mission/goals?
Motivation:Do the policies, culture, and reward systems support the desired performance?
Expertise:Does the organization establish and maintain selection and training policies and resources?
Mission/Goals:Do the process goals enable the organization to meet organizational and individual mission/goals?
System Design: Are processes designed in such a way to work as a system?
Capacity:Does the process have the capacity to perform (quantity, quality, and timeliness)?
Motivation:Does the process provide the information and human factors required to maintain it?
Expertise:Does the process of developing expertise meet the changing demands of the changing processes?
Mission/Goals:Are the professional and personal mission/goals of individuals congruent with the organization's?
System Design: Does the individual face obstacles that impede job performance?
Capacity:Does the individual have the mental, physical, and emotional capacity to perform?
Expertise:Does the individual have the knowledge, skills, and experience to perform?
We have already noted that the chief test for a training need is just this:
Does the employee know how to meet the performance standards for an accountable task?Accordingly, you will note that there is only one cell in this entire matrix that pertains to training problems: the analysis of expertise at the individual level.
If the answer is "Yes, the employee knows how," there is no training need.
There is a performance problem; but it isn't a training need because more training will not solve the problem. The employee already knows how. There must be other obstacles to satisfactory performance. Thus, the remaining cells in the matrix do not warrant training solutions.
We can look at those other obstacles later. For the moment, let's just make sure we know what a training need is. A training need exists when an employee lacks the knowledge or skill to perform an assigned task satisfactorily.
This statement implies standards of performance. That may or may not be true: Not every organization has established standards for every task—and lots of standards have been informally established, but never documented. If there are no standards against which employee performance can be measured, it's very hard to conclude that the employee is not performing properly. Nevertheless, the T&D specialist, in the role of consultant, often gets into precisely that situation. Managers are dissatisfied with employees performances, but haven't identified precisely what level of performance would satisfy them. That often happens when new jobs are established, when the technology is altered, or when procedures are modified. It can also happen when employees begin to neglect old tasks, or perform tasks indifferently, or perform in ways that are not up to their manager's tacit expectations.
What can the T&D manager do in the face of such vague specifications?
Well,this is one time when questioning skills are very, very useful. The reputation of the T&D department doesn't gain much respect if T&D specialists just say,"Well, when you make up your mind what you want, get in touch!" This is the perfect chance to ask direct questions to uncover the facts and to ask open questions to discover feelings, and then to reflect upon the manager's frustration over the performance problems back on the job and the hard thinking you're asking for in this consultation.
Far better that the T&D specialist and the perplexed client-manager mutually explore the issue to determine what level of performance would satisfy the manager whose people present a problem. Thus T&D specialists, acting in the role of consultant, can be heard asking things such as, "When you envision workers doing this job properly, what do you see them doing?" "What specific things would you like to see them doing—but don't?" "When you walk up to workers to tell them they're doing well, what specific things do you praise?"
"When you correct them for doing things the wrong way, what specific things do you ask them to avoid?" "What do you ask them to be certain to do in the future?"
Even though the answers to such questions are not yet sanctioned (or is the proper word "sanctified"?) by being published in procedures manuals, the T&D Specialist has begun the standards-setting process. The next decision is whether the new "specification" is a reasonable expectation of workers.
At this stage, astute T&D managers try
Workers' comments will do many things:
In gaining helpful inputs from managers and workers while defining performance standards,T&D representatives will be implanting that important concept that organizations get their work done because people fill their positions properly.They "put out the proper outputs." Positions, in turn, are made up of responsibilities; these, in turn, are discharged by the proper completion of various tasks. To set standards, we define those tasks by specifying the actions to be taken and the criteria of successful completion.
In many standards-setting conversations, it's necessary to point out that "criteria"is just a big word to describe what makes the work "okay" and what makes it "not okay." This includes data about what's right and wrong; it also includes data about how many in what period of time.
Once the actions and criteria are identified, performance conditions need to be considered;these include what the worker is given to work with and what happens when there are variations in working conditions. For example: a customer service representative who deals with the public may be encouraged to ask a pleasant question of customers. That's a "standard of performance"—unless there are more than three people waiting in line! Under those conditions, the pleasant question may be sacrificed in favor of speedy service to all three customers.
When determining standards, it's useful to think in certain terms: numbers—such as hours, units, requests, completions dollars—sales, unit costs, resources consumed, hours-of-effort multiplied by salary-per-hour percent—of overtime,turnover, rejects, or utilization time lapse—such as flow time, set-up,inventory turnover completions—shipments, acceptance, milestones Skill in writing performance standards, or at least in describing human behavior, is a"must" for all T&D managers and specialists. Some organizations have begun to train managers from all departments in how to define performance standards.One such firm (Kemper Insurance Companies) has conducted workshops so that line managers become trainers for workshops at which still other line managers learn how to develop standards for their subordinates.
Temperatures the importance of developing the actual standards as a joint effort between the manager and the subordinate—not as a product of staff trainers.
Once the standards are agreed upon by key people in the client department, the T&D specialist is ready to ask that all-important question: "Do the people who must meet these standards possess the knowledge and skill to do so right now?" If the answer is yes, no training is indicated.
For newcomers, that seldom happens. They rarely know how to do their new jobs perfectly. For them, we have discovered a training need. It does not follow,however, that newcomers need training in all facets of their positions.
Even newcomers have some ability and some knowledge, and we call this their "inventory."If we match the inventory against the standard we have set, we have a possible training need.
What the employee must do to meet the standard can be represented by the letter For minimum mastery, or "must do." From this M we subtract the inventory to discover what the newcomer needs to learn to perform properly.
The test is somewhat different for employees who are already incumbent in their positions. We can again let M represent what the worker must do; from that we still subtract the I, or inventory. But this time the inventory is what the worker is actually doing now. The difference between the M and the I is a potential training need. We now have a formula for potential training needs:
M- I = A potential training need.
The word "potential" is accurate. Why? Because with incumbents we are not yet certain that the reason for difference is lack of knowledge or skill. We don't yet know that they do not know how. Only if the reason for the difference is their not knowing how do we have a training need.
It's helpful to regard the distance between the "must do" and the "misdoing" as a deficiency. We can put this into our formula by assigning it the letter D.
Now our formula looks like this:
M- I = D.
At this stage we are now ready to consider several different types of deficiency.
When employees don't know how, we call this DK for "deficiency of knowledge."All DKs are regarded as training needs. If the difference between the"must do" and the "is doing" stems from other causes, we consider it a "deficiency of execution" and call it a DE. What"other causes" might there be? To name a few: lack of feedback, badly engineered jobs, or punishing consequences.
DEs are not solvable through training.
Sometimes people know how to do the job, but have so little practice that they cannot maintain a satisfactory level of performance. This might be called a DP, or"deficiency of practice." Training in the form of drill may solve DP problems.(But one just has to ask why the manager of these inventories let them go to waste!)
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Training And Development Tutorial
The Need For Training And Development Departments
Function And Role Of T&d Managers
The T&d Department And The Organizational Structure
Identifying Training Needs
Responding To Individual Training Needs
Training Isn't Always The Solution
How Do People Learn?
Enhancing Transfer Of Learning
Training And Development Budgets
Measuring Training And Development
Assessing The Results Of The Training Programs
Selecting And Retaining The T&d Staff
Does Employee Development Pay Off?
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